شرح كتاب الأربع مقالات في أحكام علم النجوم
Sharḥ Kitāb al-Arbaʿ maqālāt fī aḥkām ʿilm al-nujūm
A commentary on the Kitāb al-Arbaʿ maqālāt in the version of Ibrāhīm b. al-Ṣalt/Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (A.2.2). Al‐Battānī mentions two earlier treatises of his. In Chapter 24 he refers to the Kitāb Maṭāliʿ al‐burūj fī mā bayna arbāʿ al‐falak as ‘our first book’ (kitāb-nā al-awwal) and to a Bāb Taḥqīq al‐ittiṣālāt, which likely corresponds to the Risāla Taḥqīq aqdār al‐ittiṣālāt listed by Ibn al-Nadīm; these treatises are probably identical to Chapters 55 and 54 of the Ṣābiʾ Zīj, which itself is not mentioned in the commentary. Alternative title: al-Maqālāt al-arbaʿ fī l-qaḍāʾ bi-l-nujūm ʿalā l-ḥawādith.
Al‐Battānī’s Sharḥ is organized in 40 unnumbered chapters (bābs) and constitutes a running commentary, not clearly distinguishing between source and commentary, on selected chapters of Book I (4, 8 and 10-14) and Book II (3, 5, 9, 10, and 13) and on the complete Books III and IV of the Tetrabiblos. The last three chapters of the commentary discuss a practical application of chronocrators as presented in Book IV.10 of the Tetrabiblos; for these al‐Battānī includes corresponding astrological tables after the colophon. The tables give the revolution of the months, based on a year comprised of 13 months (Escorial, RBMSL, ár. 969, f. 80r) and are followed by another set of tables for decans and triplicities according to the method of Ptolemy (idem, f. 80v).
Both witnesses contain identical passages that appear to have been transferred from the margins into the main text. They refer to variants in other copies of the Tetrabiblos and possibly stem from al-Battānī himself (e.g., an extensive comment on a manuscript copy with different geographical information, see Escorial, RBMSL, ár. 969, f. 26r).
Coptic numerals in the colophon of the Escorial manuscript and a foliation with Coptic numerals in the Berlin manuscript suggest that both extant manuscripts circulated in North African Christian communities. The same scribal mistakes (especially concerning geographical information in Chapter 10) furthermore demonstrate a close relation between the two codices, but the Berlin manuscript is incomplete and omits the first chapter as well as the astrological tables following the colophon.
[Escorial, RBMSL, ár. 969]
Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist (ed. FlügelGustav Flügel, Kitâb al-Fihrist, 2 vols, Leipzig: Vogel, 1871–1872, vol. II, pp. 268 and 279, German tr. SuterHeinrich Suter, ‘Das Mathematiker-Verzeichniss im Fihrist des Ibn Abî Jaʿḳûb an-Nadîm’, Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik. Supplement 37 (1892), pp. 1–87, pp. 20 and 35, English tr. DodgeBayard Dodge, The Fihrist of al-Nadīm. A Tenth-Century Survey of Muslim Culture, 2 vols, New York / London: Columbia University Press, 1970, vol. II, pp. 640 and 661-62); Moritz Steinschneider, Die arabischen Uebersetzungen aus dem Griechischen, Leipzig: Harrassowitz, 1897, pp. 207–208; GALCarl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, 2 vols, Weimar / Berlin: Felber, 1898–1902, vol. I, p. 222; GALSCarl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur. Supplementbände, 3 vols, Leiden: Brill, 1937–1942, vol. I, p. 397; SuterHeinrich Suter, Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber und ihre Werke, Leipzig: Teubner, 1900, pp. 45–47; GASFuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, 9 vols, Leiden: Brill, 1967–1984, vol. V, pp. 287–288; vol. VI, pp. 182–187; vol. VII, pp. 158–160; DSBCharles C. Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 14 vols plus 2 supplementary vols, New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1970–1990 article ‘al-Battānī’ by Willy Hartner (vol. I, pp. 507–516); MAOSICBoris A. Rosenfeld and Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Mathematicians, Astronomers, and other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and their Works (7th–19th c.), Istanbul: Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), 2003, pp. 64–65 (no. 137); BEAThomas Hockey (ed.), The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, 2 vols, Dordrecht: Springer, 2007, vol. I, pp. 101–103; Edward S. Kennedy, Benno van Dalen, George Saliba and Julio Samsó, ‘Al-Battānī’s Astrological History of the Prophet and the Early Caliphate’, Suhayl 9 (2009–2010), pp. 13–148.
Berlin, SBPK, Sprenger 1840 , ff. 1r–62v